Fighting DUI Charges

Being pulled over by the police is nearly always a nervous experience, especially if they are under the suspicion that you are driving while under the influence of an intoxicant. A DUI conviction can have serious consequences, so it’s important to fight the accusation aggressively.

dui chargesEven though everyone’s case will be different, there are a handful of general defense strategies an individual can use to combat DUI charges. One of the most common defenses is to question the validity of the on-site examinations the police used to determine the defendant’s level of intoxication. Some of the problems with breathalyzers include:

  • They are subject to radio interference
  • The machine must be properly calibrated
  • The officer must administer the test correctly
  • They sometimes register other chemical compounds as alcohol

Field sobriety tests also have their shortcomings, since the way they are administered depends heavily on an individual officer’s perception of your behavior. If you are able to prove in court that there was in error in the sobriety test, you can have the charges against you dropped.

Defending against a DUI charge is not easy and the help of someone who is familiar with alcohol laws and legal defenses can prove invaluable in court.

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DWIs and Your Record in Texas

Driving under the influence or driving while intoxicated charges and convictions can have a serious impact on every area of your life. In many cases, a DWI conviction not only costs you thousands of dollars in court fees, but it can also impact your education opportunities or career.

Understanding how driving under the influence charges and convictions impact your record is extremely important. And while multiple convictions could stay on your record for a very long time, with the help of a DUI lawyer, you may be able to keep these charges or convictions off your record or lessen the severity of your sentencing.

The state of Texas has very strict laws and penalties in regards to DWI convictions. The same goes for DWIs drastically affecting one’s record. Before recent changes to the law, a person could have a DWI expunged from his or her record after a 10-year period if he or she did not have any additional offenses. Unfortunately, that law has changed.

Now, Texas law states that DWI convictions cannot be removed from one’s record for any reason. This is the case whether you have had only one or multiple convictions. In fact, past DWI convictions only affect the severity of penalties with future convictions.

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Parked Car DUI

Although many drivers may not realize this until it’s too late, intoxicated drivers may be arrested on DUI charges even if they aren’t actually driving their vehicle. Commonly known as a parked car DUI, police officers may arrest drunk drivers for indicating their intention to drive their car while intoxicated. DUI arrests are made according to a legal principle known as physical control, in which a driver may be considered, for legal purposes, violating DUI laws even if they aren’t actually operating the vehicle. As long as they’re in physical control of the vehicle while intoxicated, they may be arrested.

What Are The Limits of Physical Control?

According to the law, DUI arrests may be made at any point in which a driver is both intoxicated and has physical control over the vehicle. For the intents of the law, physical control may be extended to include drivers sleeping in the back seat, resting on the hood or trunk of the car’s exterior, or waiting inside a parked vehicle without the immediate intention to drive. There are only a few instances in which a driver may be inside or on their vehicle while intoxicated and manage to give up physical control. Even in these instances, the court may dispute a defendant’s claims.

In some cases, drivers may avoid DUI allegations by storing their keys in an inaccessible compartment while they’re inside the vehicle. For example, a driver asleep in the back seat with their keys in the glove compartment may have sufficiently separated themselves from their means of controlling the vehicle to convince the court that they weren’t in physical control. Similarly, putting keys in the trunk may be enough to clearly show that the driver didn’t have physical control.

If a person gives their keys to someone else, such as a friend, who isn’t in the car while the intoxicated driver is, that driver may have also given up physical control. Without any means to actually operate the vehicle, a driver can’t physically control it.

How Can a Driver Dispute a Parked Car DUI?

Drivers charged with DUIs while their vehicles are parked may have a few important defense options. If they want to fight these charges, they may be able to cite a significant separation between themselves and their keys. As described before, if a driver doesn’t have immediate access to their keys, they may not be considered in physical control of the vehicle, and aren’t breaking DUI laws as a result. A DUI lawyer may be able to help argue this defense.

If a driver wants to consider a plea bargain, a parked car DUI may be considered significantly less serious as an offense. This means that some prosecutors may be much more willing to reduce charges with an admission of guilt. Working with a DUI attorney, a defendant may be able to argue for a substantial reduction of major penalties and may even be able retain their license.

In any scenario, a defendant may want to think carefully about working with a DUI lawyer for their defense case. Parked car DUIs are still the same powerful criminal allegations as DUIs on the road, and may come with extremely detrimental penalties if a defendant is convicted.

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How a DUI Can Affect Academic Opportunities

Many young adults work hard throughout their academic career to get into a school with a strong program in their chosen field of study, often with the hopes of securing a job in their desired profession. However, these dreams can be quickly swept aside with a single DUI conviction. Many universities look very harshly on serious criminal violations among their students, potentially resulting in the loss of academic opportunities or the outright expulsion from the school. The consequences of a drunk driving conviction can be devastating for a student with high aspirations.

Loss of Academic Standing in a University

For many students, there are certain expectations established by the university and by the department that student studies under. If either of these institutions has stringent rules about criminal violations, a student may be punished accordingly. For particularly specialized or competitive departments, such as those used to propel students into law school or medical school, a DUI conviction may result in the student’s expulsion from the department. In these situations, the university may not necessarily expel the student, but they may lose their desired opportunities in their department.

Loss of Scholarships

Scholarships are crucial for many students to afford the high costs of tuition, university fees, room and board, food, and materials. However, students convicted of DUI charges may lose their opportunity to compete for many scholarships, which are often based off a student’s academic and personal merits. A drunk driving conviction may speak poorly for a student’s personal character, making them a much less likely candidate to receive a scholarship.

Similarly, students already granted scholarships for a semester or more may lose their funding if their scholarship providers find out about a DUI conviction. Losing a scholarship may prove financially catastrophic, and may result in the student being forced to leave the school due to the excessive costs involved.

Loss of Admissions Opportunities

For prospective students, a drunk driving conviction may ruin their chances of getting into a particular university. Many universities hold high ethical standards for their student body, and have competitive enough admissions standards to reject candidates with previous criminal records.

How Can a Defendant Protect Their Academic Future?

If a student or prospective student is facing a drunk driving charge, they may want to closely consider the range of criminal defense options available to them. With the help of an experienced DUI attorney, a defendant may be able to fight these charges and protect their good name.

On the other hand, a defendant may also be able to work towards securing a favorable plea bargain and the reduction of their criminal allegations. While a drunk driving conviction may be extremely damaging for a student’s prospects, a reduced charge of reckless driving may not be quite as poorly received by an educational institution. A DUI lawyer may be able to help a defendant work through the process of fighting for a fair and favorable plea bargain from a determined criminal prosecution.

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Supreme Danger

The Supreme Court of the United States has recently taken up a case from Missouri which has the possibility to significantly reduce privacy rights of motorists in the United States. The case involves a man from Missouri who was stopped by a police officer late one night on suspicion of driving drunk. While he was placed under arrest, he refused to submit to a breathalyzer or blood test, citing his constitutional right to refuse a search without a warrant. The officer nevertheless pressed onward with a blood test, forced on the individual without his consent or the legal authority to do so, because, according to the officer, it would have been to difficult to obtain a warrant at that time.

The issue which the Supreme Court must now decide is whether or not such an action on the part of the officer is allowable under the protections afforded by the Bill of Rights. There is precedent for officers in such situations being given permission to proceed with blood tests without a warrant, but to this point, that has been limited to very particular circumstances, whereas this case leaves open the possibility that any police officer who has probable cause to assume an individual is driving while drunk and does not believe that they can get the necessary warrant in time may force the individual to submit to a test without their consent. Such an expansion of police powers would be a considerable blow to individual liberties, considering the broad latitude which the standard of “probable cause” provides to law enforcement officials. Those who have been subject to chemical testing in these types of conditions should pursue the assistance of a DUI attorney to receive appropriate representation against overzealous law enforcement.

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Holiday Season DUIs

Over the holiday season, millions of Americans participate in festivities to celebrate this special time of year. Unfortunately, this can put the lives and safety of others at risk as many people choose to drink more often and in larger quantities. As a result, during the holidays accidents caused by drunk drivers spike, often resulting in serious injuries to all those involved in the accident. Fortunately, DUI accident victims may be able to seek compensation for the injuries, pain, suffering, and losses that they suffer at the hands of a drunk driver.

If you or someone you know has been injured in a drunk driving accident, you may be entitled to take legal action against the party or parties who caused your suffering. Because of the high costs that many of the consequences of a DUI accident may cause, laws throughout the country allow accident injury victims to pursue compensation for their pain and suffering.Hach & Rose, LLP

DUI Accident Injuries

Injuries caused by drunk drivers are often extremely serious. Some of the most common DUI accident injuries include the following:

* Broken bones
* Whiplash
* Internal organ damage
* Spinal cord injuries
* Traumatic head injuries

These and other DUI accident injuries can have devastating consequences for those who suffer in them, not to mention their families. However, no one should have to pay for the consequences of a drunk driver’s reckless decisions on their own. Thus, if you have been the victim of a DUI accident, you should contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss the details of your case and learn more about your legal rights and options when a drunk driver has caused you and your family to suffer after an accident. An attorney can help you understand what you may be able to do to get the justice you deserve in this difficult situation.

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